I know it’s not very sexy but I love goals.

Yes goals.

People ask me how I get it all done. They assume I’m extremely organized. In reality I’m pretty ADD. On top of that, I have 3 small children at home and I only work part time. But the truth is I do get a lot done.

Here’s why… I’m no longer addicted to approval but I’m still an addict.

I am addicted to goals.

I love them. I love creating them. I love thinking about them. I love working towards them. I love realizing them.

I will never say to myself, “I have finally arrived!” because I know there will always be another thing for me to strive for.

Because there is so much joy for me in the striving. Goals, to me, are play– creative, daring, adventurous, experimental play.

Like all good play, my goals teach me all kinds of stuff in the process. How to be proud of my accomplishments and my failures, how to persist, to persevere, problem solve, innovate, risk, have a sense of humor to name a few.

Good goals? Or bad goals?

But it didn’t always used to be this way. I used to take my goals very seriously. I used them as a measuring stick, a way to quantify my self worth.

I had a list of things I was supposed to accomplish by the age of 30. I was supposed to speak four languages, graduate with honors from Columbia University, solve the hunger problem, win the Nobel Peace Prize, etc., etc.…

As you can guess I fell short.

So the goals I created back then were really more like intangible torture devises. Each time I came up short, I used the goal to figuratively whack myself on the head …

The anatomy of a good goal

Nine years later, there’s a different energy behind my goals. The stakes are not so high yet, ironically, I’m achieving my goals more often and I’m much happier.

Part of it has to do with permission. I now give myself permission to just be happy. Not happy if…  Not happy when. The by product, I have found, is that when I can Just. Be. Happy, I don’t judge what I want as stupid, frivolous or just plain crazy. And my goals get to be for me not about me.

Second, I am way more willing to fail than I used to be. Since my goals are now my source of joy – a gift I give to myself really – and not a measuring stick with which to beat myself over the head, I can afford to be creative, daring and at times downright cray-cray.

Getting high off goals

Human beings are built for goals. We are like bicycles. When we are not in motion, we fall down.

I just read Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy. It’s a book about productivity. He says that task completion actually triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain.

Yes, you can literally get high off goals. And I’m all about getting high without drugs.

Are your goals working for you?

But if your goals feel bad or you’re just plain stuck, my guess is you’ve got to do a bit of work first to make sure those goals are working for you and not against you.

3 Tips to Clean Up (and get high off) Your Goals:

1. What is your WHY?

A few weeks ago I heard Danielle LaPorte speak at the World Domination Summit. She says, when you feel inspired ask yourself, are you moved on a cellular level or do you just want to be like the person who inspires you?

Put another way, are you in integrity with your goals? Are they a true reflection of Who You Really Are or just another gold star used to elicit ewwws and ahhhs?

2. Reframe failure.

Jeff Olsen author of The Slight Edge, says “successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” It’s as simple as that. Stop believing that failure somehow reflects upon your worth. When you no longer see it this way, roadblocks stop meaning failure and start providing the feedback you need to reach your goals.

3. Go with good enough.

Perfectionism is just a form of procrastination in disguise, I’ve heard it said. Go with good enough. And just do something!

So there you have it. I dare you to post 1 goal in the comments below. Because I LOVE THAT.

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9 Responses

  1. Debra says:

    I am singing with Delbert Mc Clinton at The Variety Playhouse.

  2. Irvan says:

    Great article! I always mistake my accomplishments, or lackthereof, as a measure of my self-worth and its definitely something I need much more work on. Thank you for such insight.

  3. Amy says:

    @Irvan, thanks so much for the comment. Ohhhh it feels so much better when the accomplishments aren’t a measure of your worth and simply icing on the cake!

    @Debra, is this a goal? Say more…

  4. Love the article, Amy! Thank you for the insight that my goals are for me, not anyone else. And that my failures and mistakes are not a reflection on who I am, they are feedback…. fabulous! Okay, here goes a personal goal… I choose a richly healthy relationship with food and nourishment like I have never experienced before. I wanna be a woman who knows how to make fabulous smoothies, the best place and time to visit the local farmer’s markets, and how to help my body glow with radiant energy from my food choices. I want to develop a love affair with fresh when it comes to food. I want concepts of ripe, juicy, nourishing and fragrant to fill my culinary experience every day. And I want to share this experience joyfully with family and friends. :)

  5. Amy says:

    @Veronica! I love this. Thank you for posting your goal!! It is inspiring.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Great article, Amy! My goal is to continue to become one with my body – loving, accepting and honoring it – by eating nutritious foods that are right for ME, exercising in a way that is right for ME, and saying kind words to myself that support this journey. (I eat grain/gluten/sugar-free, I have released an extra 20 pounds in four months, I work with an excellent personal trainer, and I don’t sabotage myself by calling myself unkind names.) I do these things for ME, and I love it!

  7. Susan says:

    You dare me, do you? Well alright then! MY goal is to actually retire for the day at 9:30 pm to read for a half hour before bed. OK, that may sound sweet & simple but it’s actually scary to proclaim it because I have not succeeded in the past. I will examine why and what I can do differently. Also I plan to add empathy, affection and relaxation to my treatment of myself around goals, rather than the reflexive and debilitating self-pressure that tempts me to avoid them altogether. Consistent bedtime (and reading fun time), I hope, will support all the other goals in my mix, from daily to-do’s to long-term struggles.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Amy, I especially loved reading about how we are wired… like bicycles!

  8. Marcia says:

    Hey Amy. I just wanted to thank you for all you write. You inspire me. There isn’t one time I don’t have a smile on my face when seeing I got an email/update from your blog. I LOVE the “I don’t need your approval” classes. You make me trust my self (or would it be “myself”? Sorry for my bad English – Portuguese, my mother language, sound a lot easier to me, ha!). You make me happy. A big hug your way.

  9. Carolina says:

    Great article, Amy! My goal is to ask for what I want, without shame. We’ll see his that works out.

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